June 18, 2002
Linking to or framing of any material on this site without the prior written consent of NPR is prohibited.And to think that after I appeared on All Things Considered on April 17, 2002 to talk about the late Damon Knight, I thoughtlessly linked to their Real Audio file of the interview. Right here on Electrolite, I linked to NPR’s Real Audio file of my interview. And all that time it was “prohibited”! Imagine that.
Please use this form to request permission to link to npr.org and its related sites.
Of course, it isn’t “prohibited.” Or rather, it’s “prohibited” with exactly the same legal force as I have when I say “False legal claims designed to intimidate the public are hereby prohibited. Signed, Me.” This is the web. If you put a public document onto it, it’s linkable. If you don’t want to be linked to, use some other means of putting your information online.
According to NPR’s “about” page, “In 1967, Congress passed the Public Broadcasting Act, authorizing the creation of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB). The Act called on CPB to encourage ‘the growth and development of noncommercial radio’ and to develop ‘programming that will be responsive to the interests of the people.’”
As Cory Doctorow points out, you can express to NPR’s ombudsman any views you may have about how well NPR’s behavior here serves “the interests of the people.” Oh, and how well it furthers their mission to “create a more informed public.” Or, perhaps, what such a policy reveals about an organization that pretends to epitomize a humane, liberal outlook while in fact acting as shameless stenographers to the powerful. And for that matter, what we are to make of an organization that deliberately, as policy, strives to deceive the public on the question of what they may and may not prohibit: a question that has by no means been settled by either legislation or precedent. One might even suspect National Public Radio of being no better than any other pack of corporate hacks who routinely attempt to undermine legitimate journalism about their behavior.
Or, as John Hockenberry remarked in this 1999 interview:
By the time I left NPR in 1992, it was an audience-driven, revenue-driven entity, not unlike corporate media outlets. […T]he idea that NPR is more in-depth, or is saving the world, is about as laughable as NBC saying, “More Americans get their news from NBC than any other source.” It’s just one of those slogans.Think about this the next time you hear about what an indispensable cultural institution NPR is. And I’ll certainly be emailing that ombudsman a pointer to this post. [07:48 PM]